tv [untitled] CSPAN June 20, 2009 11:30pm-12:00am EDT
clinton. i am trying to figure what i can say that will not be said tonight, that will not be said about al from. let me give a shot at@@@@@@@@ @ the sacrifices he and his family made for all of us. there may be one voice that may not be here tonight. the voters -- the voice of those people in the country who are not invited to this dinner, don't even know this dinner is taking place. but their lives have been directly impacted by the work of al from. since we are now focused as we should be in extending health care reform, it was him and the dlc ren.and bill clinton
i will never forget the conversation i had with a woman on the banks of the mississippi river several years ago. i was visiting a homeless clinic, and she was there as a nurse's aide. this is a person whose life you impacted. she came up to me very hesitantly as i was talking to nurses, and she was asking if i could spend a few minutes with her. this is when i was governor of iowa. she said, i just want to thank you. i said, for what? she said, i want to thank you for the children's health insurance program. i am working as a nurse's aide making $8 an hour, working my way through college. no doubt with a loan of assistance. i am recently divorced, i have a 12 year-old daughter -- a 12- year-old daughter. we're living without much support for her father. support for her father. i was about her future.
i was concerned and worried about her capacity to be protected because i have health insurance with this job, and i cannot afford it at $8 an hour. but i heard about a program for children, have you pay a small amount and get insurance coverage. i took advantage of it. within a couple of days after i got that protection for my child, she broke in shattered her wrist. she broke it in multiple places. required three surgeries. at this point in time, this woman began to cry. and she said, i am convinced that without that program, my child pose a risk would never have been fixed right, and she would of had to live with a deformity for the rest of her life. when we on this man tonight, there are literally millions of children here and around the world and whose life -- but whose lives have been impacted
by his passion for ideas, and his belief that government working with others can make a difference in the lives of so many. she is not here today, but i am. on behalf of her and those whose lives had been affected by your work, i want to say thank you for a life well lived. [applause] you gave me the opportunity to introduce the president. how many times as president clinton been introduced? how much can be said about the guy? that you don't already know and have heard a million times? let me try something a little bit different about the president tonight. i think one of the greatest strengths of bill clinton is his
willingness and his embracing and this celebration of the successes of others. i have seen him express deep pride in the success of his daughter and of his wife. i have seen him express extraordinary pride in the successes of politicians from city council members, mayors, and governors, all the way up to presidents of the united states. i have seen him express pride in the successes of children combating aids in africa. this is a man who has committed himself to celebrating the successes of others, and through his work, has made success for others so prominent. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming the president of the united states, -- former president of united states, someone who has celebrated the successes of
every single person in this room, and through his work, many of us have had the opportunity to succeed as well. bill clinton. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you. thank you, ladies and gentlemen. thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you, secretary vilsack. i was glad to see you were wearing your cowboy boots, washington has not totally changed. i love tom vilsack his wife
christie. when you get in the back of an suv and right all over hell's half acre, you get to know them. i admire him. i was delighted when president obama appointed him. i feel good about the future of rural america because he is there. [applause] thank you, harold ford jr., for friendship and your fidelity to the dlc, and what you said tonight. thank you, bruce reed, for all of your wonderful service in the white house, and your friend should to me and for leading the dlc and for what you said tonight. thank you, will marshall. thank you, ginger and sarah and jenny and mark. and thank you, elizabeth. this is really all for you,
after all. i would like to thank those who, like me, had the benefit of serving as chair of the dlc. they're all here, and have all been introduced. it is a club by want to be a part of. we were really breasts -- blessed in those early years. there is a really magnificent person who is going to speak after me that proves the dlc program. rachel, i am so proud of you. i'm glad you're representing the state and local officials. that was a really good movie. it had the virtue of being at
least except for the stuff about me, true. i think secretary sebelius may be here. we were together at a previous event, and i'll have more to say about that in a minute. i loved getting involved with the dlc. for one thing, i was tired of getting beat. i am old enough now to remember what it was like to get beat over and over and over again. essentially, here is what happens to us. national elections and the standing of national political parties are determined by three things. the political culture, the conditions at election time, and the quality of the candidates. for much of the 20th-century, the political culture of
america kept us coming together and looking for common sense solutions, because both parties at about a 40% base, and 20% that can go either way. it gave great pressure to find some way to come together. it also meant that even if you ran a bank robber, you would have 40% for the president. president roosevelt won 63% in 1936. 1968 was one of the most difficult years in american history, certainly in modern history. it was dramatic and 90 -- in a lot of ways. there were a lot of fears, anger, frustration at the polls. i'm not so great economy. -- a not a great economy by those standards. it doesn't look so bad today.
a rising women posing movement, controversy over the vietnam war, -- a rising wind and's -- women's movement, controversy over the vietnam war. it affected and alignment in new politics. the republican base rose to 45%. as people that normally voted democratic moved into the republican category, largely over their values and social issues that made them vote against their economic interests. and over the sense that we were either out of tough-guy -- out of touch with them or to tie to the past. once you realize that math, explains what happened for the next 30 years. we had to win two--- 2/3 of the undecided vote to win the
presidential election. the congressional seats held onto were largely a function of deep-seated personal loyalties to the member of congress which overrode the issues of the day. that is why we only had two presidents between 1968 and 2008. and why i was fortunate enough to be reelected, but the only president since roosevelt. do not clap, this is serious. al from reserves a serious speech. it is important that you understand the role he played. what did jimmy carter and i have an 76 and 92? we had to of the three factors you had to have to win. self-serving, but i think that the context at the time, we were very -- we were better candidates.
we have lousy conditions when the other guys were in. we were able to prevail. they still have the culture. -- they still had the culture. the nra took out 1215 of our house members. now look -- 12 or 15 of our house members. now look. our bases began the even not. there were two reasons for that. one of which fall from -- al fro m and bill clinton had nothing to do it. we were growing more reverse. therefore, there were more communitarian and less tolerant of the politics of division. the other factor he had a lot to do with.
the government must at the two car parade, because they believe the government could perform and have a role to play in giving us a shared future. the bases were pretty even in 2000. president bush ran a brilliant campaign. compassionate conservatives may have been the best slogan of my adult lifetime. what is said to the moderate voters, i will give everything bill clinton gave you with a smaller government and a moderate tax cut. wouldn't you like that? al gore got more votes, but not enough to stay out of the supreme court where president bush was elected 5/4. he was reelected in 2000 for all right.
we were still in the capsule of fear from 9/11. we never defeated a president involved in the military conflicts. it was the smallest margin of victory since woodrow wilson's victory in 1916. in 2006, we won the congress back. it was the first time we had been free to think about all the things that we cared about. it was the first time in the cultural run of the republicans when we had an opportunity to see what would happen if what they talked about was actually done. bush said republican congress. the american people did not like it very much. i remember on the morning after the election, you know, in 2006, i told hillary, i said, if we do not nominate a convicted felon, we're going to win. a democratic nominee will be the
president of the united states after the 2008 election. you could see two things going together. people believe in the promise of their@@@@@@@@@@ @ ,@ @ @ we're holy and tolerant of the staples of american politics for the last 40 years. we want to build what the dlc advocated from the get go. the country of one community -- a country of one community with shared responsibilities and shared opportunities. yes, the demographics had a lot to do with it. by 2008, president obama had a bigger base to run from then senator mccain did. cain did.
at that time, we won all three because we had a better candidate, and we had better conditions. these things are important because it was easy to forget amid all the criticism and some of the praise, what a profound impact elections have on people's lives. i was thinking about all the trips we took command in the planes when both of us were overweight. [laughter] trying to drum up support for the dlc. we held our breath at that williamsburg conference, and we had a meeting in new orleans. we had a meeting in cleveland. one of my good friends, reverend
jackson, called us the democrats of the leisure class. some of the set we were republican light because we talked about trade, national security, and welfare reform and holding families together. they forgot we also talked about strategies to reduce poverty, collect child support, promote education, and that we were very explicit early on in saying we would not stand for discrimination against anybody who played the politics or anything else. we were always in the right place on that. but we thought we needed to break out of the orthodoxy of the past. then, after i got elected, some of our critics said, we must not believe in anything since we wanted politics that went beyond
the partisan divides of the 1980's. by 2008, the same people thought that was a good thing to be. and i understood it. it was so easy to cover politics until we came along. it was like the gunfight at the o.k. corral. playing checkers, there are two kinds of pieces. it was one color, the other is the other. its spirit of the trouble of thinking. it was like a prize fight, you pick one fighter and waited to see not the other one out. except, we had waits around our ankles, and it was hard to move. then, there were those who said after this was all said and done, we finally saw what could happen when we elect an extremely able and brilliant person president in an environment where we finally
have a cultural majority and lots of interesting problems to work on, and great talent, that somehow the dlc has become irrelevant. i read all of this stuff. i of you this for 25 years. i have three things to say to people. to people who believe this organization is not relevant. number one, as you saw from the film, the approach did work. it work in ways that you did not have time to put into the film. we did not just have 23 million new jobs, and the lowest rates of minority poverty recorded since we have been keeping statistics. there were three other things that needed to be pointed out. about how much this worked.
in a world that has gripped by instability and inequality, first, and eight years that i had the honor to serve, we had 100 times as many out of poverty as the previous 12. 100 times as many. the intent -- the income tax credit took more than a million kids out of poverty. number two, yes we were for free trade, but we also advocated environmental standards and lifting the bottom. in six of eight years, we gained, not lost manufacturing jobs. we lost them in all eight years of the past administration. number three, for the only time since the early 1970's after we went off the gold standard and join the international financial
system, and the second term, the incomes of the bottom 20% increase more than the incomes of the top 20%, and income inequality did not increase. that did not happen before, and it has not happened since. i believe in furthering obama's economic program. it will happen again. first of all, it worked. the american people proved an election after election, they're interested in people who get the show on the road and do something that works. the second thing i will say is, we're honored by it goes on the dlc -- by those on the dlc by the policies of president obama has supported.
rahm emanuel, larry summers, jan napolitano, the president thinks they share his values and his thirst for ideas. i was delighted that after the stimulus bill passed the first major bill signed,, after the stimulus bill passed, the first major bill signed -- after the stimulus bill passed, the first major bill signed expanded -- that is what al from and i advocated in 1992. it took 25 years, but it was 25 years well spent. [applause] the president and vice president biden have revived the cops program. it is important. the president has advocated a sweeping national loan program to cut the cost of college.
that, too was a dlc idea. we made that an option with contingent repayment for college students. when we get it, the students of america saved $9 billion repaying their college loans. $1,300 for every $10,000 they borrowed. the taxpayers -- it made it possible to repay them. barack obama is right about this. but the dlc first proposed it. i am pleased that a revitalized the community development financial institutions bill and found it, funding micro credit. again, it is something that we all ran on. i am pleased we have a secretary of education who believes in public school choice and charter schools. the dlc, i believe, was the first organization to talk
about charter schools. i went all over america advocating at in '92, and finally, one guy knew pretty well set, bill, i do not know what the heck you're talking about. i said one, where is it? minnesota. how many states can set them up? as far as i know, too. minnesota and arkansas. you think about it. from the time i left office, we had 2000 charter schools. congress had given funding for 3000. now we have schools in new york city where my foundation is in importance neighborhoods where there are 20 applicants for every one seat open in the charter school. you should be proud of that, al from. i love the fact that the president and former secretary of education committed to that kind of reform. so that is my second point.
it does not matter what president obama -- it does not matter that he has a special style and a special brand. he has put a lot of people who think like us and your part of our ranks who have a lot of ideas that were hatched in al's brain or in the lab of will marshall, bruce reed front and cetnenter because he has a good test. the most important thing by far is that any organization committed to finding new ideas that the real challenges will never be out of fashion. there will never be a new time. i was under no illusion that no matter how good a job i did, i could make all the problems in america go away. my goal was to leave you with a
new set of problems. i did not want you to be stuck in the same box like a laboratory animal running around in the cage. you just think about the challenges facing the president now and the congress. i think we're going to get a health reform bill. i have been waiting all my life for this. [applause] i think will be able to get one that has republican support. i want one that will not be filibustered. if we just have universal coverage without doing something to break the cost spiral, five years from now, we will not have universal coverage and more, because we will not be available -- we will not be able to afford it. if we had any other country pose a health system, we would cover everybody and get better health outcomes -- if we had any other country's health system, we should -- we would cover everybody and get better
outcomes. we want to make health care affordable to everybody, including those parents who had kids with autism and problems at birth that they could not manage. i couldn't -- i was sick of having people coming to me telling me that they had to give up their jobs so they could keep their kids healthy, and if they went back to work, their child might die. we have a moral obligation to extend coverage. we also have an obligation not to bankrupt them by continuing the same cost curve. if you look at the problems of medicare when the old geezers like near tyre, all the baby boomers get in the medicare. only -- 80% is because of the projected inflation of health care costs. that is a job for the dlc. i think the congress will pass the climate change bill.
senator lieberman, thank you for your years of work on it. i think it will pass a good climate change bill. [applause] but if we cannot prove that we can do this in a way that creates more jobs and create economic opportunity and works to enrich the lives of all americans, we will not meet the targets, even if they pass the bill. and even if we do, other countries won't. the dlc has always been a practical and tried to merge federal policy with state and local actors in the private sector. we need to be on the forefront of that. we still have big problems in education. we have lots of success for public schools. we still have 25 years, 26 years after the nation at risk report.
until we do, we're compromising the future of this country. we still have the best system of higher education in the world, but we have fallen to the percentage of people between 25 and 35 because of the price it out of range. we have to figure out how to improve the delivery system. why did will not work anymore. after i gave you the biggest increase in college aid since the gi bill in my second term, the benefits of that the real students were gone within 56 years. zero. none. it just allow them to hold on because of inflation. 17 states have allowed their colleges -- a community colleges colleges -- a community colleges to the dlc ought to figure out how